A mystery box found at a homeless camp is providing many clues as to the box’s owner, but no answers.
Roseville police officers found the box Thursday, after cleaning up a campsite not far from Roseville’s Westfield Galleria shopping mall. Officers post notice that they will be cleaning out items 48 hours in advance.
The small white box the officers found contained letters, photos, and newspaper clippings dating back to the 1920s.
“It was either forgotten by someone, and it meant a lot to given the condition of the stuff, or it very well could have been taken or stolen by someone,” said Officer Derek Anganes.
It’s become a bit of a Pandora’s box for Anganes and Officer Jed O’Rourke. But instead of evils spilling out, the box, when opened, overflowed with clues about a family with ties to Yreka, Calif., Roseburg, Oregon, Kelso, Wash., and Longview, Wash. Many of the letters were addressed to James Baldwin Johnson; there are also references to Hilda Johnson, believed to be his sister, and a Dr. Alstrup Nordahl.
A Facebook post about the letters on the Roseville Police Department’s page had been shared more than 1,100 times by Wednesday afternoon. A professional genealogist has reached out to the officers to help, but so far, the clues have led to dead ends.
“It speaks to the meaningfulness of this to somebody, that they would take such good care of this for such a long time,” Anganes said.
Officers are asking anyone with ties to the family to email PoliceSocialServices@roseville.ca.us.